Choosing the Right School to Meet Your Needs

The term "College" is often used loosely to refer to all institutes of learning; however, distinctions must be to ensure that prospective students choose a school that best suits their needs.  It is important that your final decision is an informed and accurate one.

  • Technical/Vocational/Career Colleges and/or Training Centers/Institutes:

    These terms refer to schools that offer training in specific technological, vocational, occupational and career skills.  The programs are rooted in practical, hands-on training and the acquisition of specific skills.  Programs are designed so that the core of your education focuses on your specific technical, occupational, vocational or career needs with very little, if any, focus on irrelevant areas of study.  Completion of programs results in a diploma or certificate, and many adult learners use these schools to further their knowledge and enhance their skills in an already established career. 

  • College:

    The length of time it takes to complete a college degree program will vary greatly, depending on the type of College in which you enroll:

    • A 2-Year College, often referred to as a Community College, offers programs that lead to an Associate Degree.  An Associate Degree can stand on its own and give you a competitive career edge, or it can be used as a stepping-stone to obtaining your 4-Year Bachelor Degree.

    • A 4-Year Baccalaureate College offers programs that lead to a Bachelor Degree.  A 4-Year Baccalaureate College enrolls undergraduate students only; however, if the College is associated with a University, graduate programs are offered.

    • A 4-Year Liberal Arts College is a further classification of a 4-Year Baccalaureate College and promotes interactive instruction at the core of their curriculum.  Liberal Arts Colleges are often private and demonstrate a specific religious affiliation or commitment to a specific race or gender, although public and secular Liberal Arts Colleges do exist.  They are generally small in size and boast excellent teacher-to-student ratios.  4-Year Liberal Arts Colleges are primarily residential.
  • University:

    This term refers to schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs with a focus on research skills.  A University enrolls many students and is quite large when compared to most Colleges, so teacher-student interaction is limited. 

    • Private Universities have no government affiliation.  Accreditation of private Universities is not mandatory; therefore, it is pertinent that you distinguish reputable Universities from ‘diploma mills.’ Private Universities are generally much more expensive than Public Universities and are not required to offer open enrollment.

    • Public Universities are typically State Universities and are operated by the State government.  They accept both in-state and out-of-state students; however, out-of-state students will pay considerably higher tuition.  A variety of degree programs are offered and enrollment is open to all qualified applicants.

Many schools are now expanding on their campus-based programs to reach a broader population of nontraditional students.  Online and Distance education is a great way for a student to earn their degree while remaining committed to their personal and professional responsibilities.  Prospective students should, therefore, research both campus and online degree options.

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